Sunday was a rough day to be an NFL running back — unless of course your name happens to be DeMarco Murray.
A slew of starting rushers sustained injuries during (and before) yesterday’s games, opening the door for more backups to step into the spotlight in the coming weeks.
• Arizona Cardinals third-year tailback Beanie Wells left Sunday’s game against the Steelers in the second quarter with a sprained right knee. It was the same knee on which Wells had surgery before the 2010 season. Wells was never right last season, missing three games and gaining only 397 yards on the ground all year. So far this season, he has 423 yards on 91 carries but has already missed one game. The Cardinals feared Wells might be done for the season, but on Monday, coach Ken Wisenhunt refuted an NFL Network report that Wells suffered a bone bruise. Wells does not need surgery but Arizona is not putting a timetable on his return to the field.
• Former Cardinals running back and current Redskin Tim Hightower was helped off the field after injuring his left knee in Washington’s loss at Carolina. Redskins coach Mike Shanahan confirmed suspicions Monday afternoon that Hightower will miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL. Hightower leads the team in rushing with 321 yards on 84 carries.
• Revitalized veteran Willis McGahee fractured his hand (fourth metacarpal to be more specific) during the Denver Broncos’ Tim Tebow led come-from-behind win at Miami. McGahee left Sun Life Stadium with his right ring finger and right pinkie wrapped, according to the Denver Post. The 30-year-old had rushed for at least 100 yards in three of four games before totaling 76 on Sunday.
• Perpetually banged-up Colts running back Joseph Addai was knocked out of Sunday night’s Saints showcase when he aggravated a hamstring injury. Addai — who was questionable coming into the game but got the start — left after only two carries and two receptions.
• Pro Football Talk is reporting that Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Earnest Graham tore his Achilles tendon at New Wembley Stadium on Sunday (according to a league source). Graham was inserted into the starting role in place of the injured LeGarrette Blount. Kregg Lumpkin replaced Graham in the backfield, but fortunately for the Bucs, Blount is targeting a Week 9 return from his knee injury after Tampa Bay’s bye.
• Darren McFadden sprained his right foot after only two carries on Sunday (maybe he just didn’t want to be a part of the Raiders’ blowout loss to the Chiefs), but he’ll have extra time to recover with Oakland on its bye in Week 8.
• Seattle’s Marshawn Lynch couldn’t even make it to kickoff before he pulled up lame. Lynch injured his back in pregame warmups and missed all of Sunday’s ugly loss to Cleveland. Leon Washington got the start in Lynch’s place and managed all of 39 yards on seven carries in the Seahawks’ 6-3 defeat.
• The Browns were also without their starter as Madden cover boy Peyton Hillis was held out with a hamstring injury. Hillis was able to run at Monday’s practice and is considered day-to-day for Cleveland’s Week 8 game in San Francisco.
• Saints rookie Mark Ingram had to leave New Orleans’ Sunday night party early when he suffered a bruised heel during the fourth quarter. X-rays were negative following the game, but the Saints should have little trouble lessening Ingram’s load for a week or two with Darren Sproles and Pierre Thomas sharing backfield duties. On Monday Saints coach Sean Payton also hinted at possibly bringing Chris Ivory off the PUP list.